For many years, my Uncle Bill asked everyone he knew to write to him. With our busy lives, few of us kept at it for very long. He always wanted the letters to be hand written, not typed if at all possible, and whenever he wrote back, it was always hand written. That always seemed like such major undertaking to most people, and sadly I was just as guilty as most other people in Uncle Bill’s life. I tried to write him regularly, but I just never really met that goal. As time went on, my letters got further and further apart. In recent years, Uncle Bill’s dementia has changed things, so now he doesn’t know that we haven’t written in a while, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that we didn’t do the one thing he asked us to do.
The problem was that, none of us really understood the reason. Now that I have begun looking through the many family history documents Uncle Bill has, I am beginning to understand the value of those had written letters. Of course, Uncle Bill’s family history has a variety of letters from different people in it, but the thing that has made the biggest impression on me…Uncle Bill’s handwriting. I never would have guessed that it would be his handwriting that would stay with me so long.
I always thought that handwriting was handwriting. I never felt like it held anything so special…until now. I had asked my cousin Tracey to send me some photos from her side of our family, and she happily obliged. To my astonishment, the pictures were some that were sent to her family by none other than, my Uncle Bill. I knew it because I recognized that handwriting. I think I will always recognize that handwriting. I find that amazing, somehow. It’s like the story has gone full circle now. Uncle Bill understood how valuable handwriting is…and now so do I. I only wish I had seen it sooner, when it could have meant something to Uncle Bill to see my handwriting a little more often.